Laid-off Dowling staff not receiving severance, health benefits

The laid-off faculty and staff at Dowling College say they are not getting their severance pay or health benefits.

Bonnie Forbes was one of more than 450 employees at Dowling College to be laid off in June. The grandmother of two says she worked on the Oakdale campus for 13 years in human relations, and most recently, the IT department.

"We got an email letting us know that we had one day left to work and one day left for insurance coverage," she told News 12 Long Island.

Forbes says she's receiving doctors and hospital bills from as far back as March saying that insurance is not covering her medical costs. She recently received a letter from her health care provider Cigna saying, "Dowling College has not provided adequate funding to satisfy the payment of claims...As a result, Cigna is unable to process claims. You may have unsatisfied medical or pharmacy claims with your providers."

Forbes says the claims total more than $42,000.

The head of the New York United Teachers Union Carl Korn says they have filed a demand for arbitration and may pursue legal action to recoup the funds for dozens of union members. He says some staff members are receiving bills from as far back as January.

"We are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that the contractual rights of its members at Dowling College are protected," says Korn.

Korn says Dowling has also failed to pay up to 10 months of severance that dozens of members are entitled to.

A spokesperson from Dowling says they will be issuing a statement about the severance and health benefit issues.


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